Our minds on media.

Musings on the effects of media on cognition.

Is the Mainstream Media More Accurate Than New Media?

It’s not hard to listen to the mainstream media discuss new media because they’re clueless as to how to use it—they generally are. But people being generally ignorant of the latest trends on the Internet and the Web is not such a bad thing.1 The new media move fast and it’s only some of us that take it upon themselves as a hobby to find out what’s out there. What is difficult to listen to is how much credibility the mainstream media gives themselves. In a recent panel at the 140 Characters Conference (#140conf) several members of the mainstream media discussed how they felt about the new influence of twitter.

Frankly, even the author of the Techcrunch article made some questionable statements that sound like typical journalistic hyperbole: “The pursuit of ‘now’ is conditioning us to expect information as it happens, whether it’s accurate or developing.” In other words, you can have it now with a greater probability that it’s wrong, or you can wait and it will be more accurate. Since when are accuracy and immediacy mutually exclusive? I’m sorry, but I happen to think that being present at an event is kind of critical. But that sort of conundrum is just the sort of drivel that established mainstream media ventures want the public to believe—“Fair and balanced”—it is a perspective that distinctly benefits them. The author of the article goes on to point out that, “Fact checking is a vital part of the news business and is ultimately what separates amateurs from experts.” Right. Because the mainstream news always does it’s fact-checking. Yes sir, the pros are always on top of the story and they’re always near the story too! And when you consider their track record, it’s hard to argue with them, right? Right?

Ali G must be laughing in his fake grave to hear this rubbish. The news media have always been slanted and especially so when it is commercially driven. When the bottom line matters more than the facts do, the business turns to making a fuss, not reporting the news, because making a fuss gets ratings. Worse still, the making of a fuss is monolithic, given over only to those with the means (i.e. communications systems) to decide what the news is going to be. With twitter, at least you can gather the facts for yourself and make your own judgement rather than having someone make the judgement for you.

Don’t be fooled. News is a business and businesses have PR wings. The mainstream media would have you believe that they are the de facto organization they are because they are relevant and because they do the hard research. The truth is that they are sensationalist in order to get ratings, and research costs too much money to do well. That makes them irrelevant and inaccurate more times then they get caught. If the mainstream media ever did it’s job, why in the world would we need Factcheck.org or The Sunlight Foundation?

via Techcrunch


Apparently, someone from some show called the “Daily Show” out there agrees with me (and he’s a LOT funnier about it).

  1. Including not knowing the difference between those two entities. 

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